He runs alone... Ryker Grey is used to being on the outside looking in. For more than fifty years, he has worked as Pack Enforcer for the Black Hills Wolves, rising to his rank swiftly. Compelled by duty and devotion to his people, he fought to keep them protected from within and without—earning a few enemies and fewer friends. Drew’s return has sparked healing in the fraying pack, but Ryker remains vigilant. She needs a place to call her own... Saja Lyons has spent her life studying cultures, but never really being a part of them. Completing a double specialty in psychology and sociology, she decides to take the three months after her graduation to find herself on a cross-country drive. She embraces the nomadic road trip until her car breaks down on a deserted stretch of road in the middle of nowhere South Dakota. Two lonely lives collide in the cold... Ryker catches Saja’s scent from a mile away, loneliness edged in fear, frustration, and utter femininity. He approaches her in order to lend her a hand and get her out of the pack’s way...the sooner she’s gone from Los Lobos, the safer the pack will be. When their gazes meet, her playful hostility arouses the hunter in him, and for the first time in fifty years, the enforcer tastes what it’s like to not be alone... But what if the best thing that ever happened to him is a danger to the Black Hills Wolves?
As his senses had promised, snow fell steadily, sticking to the frozen ground without struggle. Picking up his pace, Ryker jogged toward the road, following the direction he’d last heard the engine. Covering the distance at a brisk pace, he barely noticed the strain. While he’d rather be on four feet than two, this was at least a run through the snow.
Metal slammed against metal ahead of him.
“Now. You’ll work….” Low and husky, the feminine voice added a lilt of conjuring to her statement. Keys rattled. Clicking snapped in the intervening silence. “Son of a futher mucker.” Flesh slapped a surface. A door slammed. “Cold. Cold. Cold. Cold. Cold.”
More metal banging off metal.
“Work you piece of crap. I just spent my last five hundred dollars on you. Work.” Bang. Slam. Bang.
Slowing as the woods gave way to a long stretch of field ending at the blacktopped old highway, he studied the vehicle parked askew on the side of the road. Askew was a generous description. The four-door sedan sat at a nearly ninety-degree angle to the road with the back tires parked in grass.
“Okay. So, count to ten,” the feminine voice continued. The sound of her shoes slapping the pavement came in time to the numbers. When she reached ten, metal crashed against metal, the clang loud and sharp enough to hurt his ears. “Work!”
A slender figure popped out from behind the raised hood to dart to the driver’s side door. He paused mid-step as she squinted her eyes closed then whispered, “You will work. You will work. You will work.”
With a twist of the key, the only thing he heard working was some rapid-fire clicks of the ignition switch trying to fire. Then, even that ceased when what remained of her power leached away.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuckity fuck.” The woman flung back against the seat, bashing her closed fists on the steering wheel. “‘Woman dies in freak snowstorm perfectly preserving her remains’ should make a sharable story on Huffington Post sometime next spring.” Even with the defeatist words, the fight in her tone continued to boil.
Fascinated, despite himself, he watched as she tapped her head against the back of the seat then bounced out of the car in a surge of energy. She raced around the vehicle, jerked the trunk open, and began to rummage through….
A wild assortment of scents raced across his nose—older scents, sweat, metal, books, chalk, dust, burned paper, sulfur—underscoring it all was a distinctly feminine musk, exotic and heady, but not too sweet. It carried more of a bite, one not altogether unpleasant. His distracted quarry whirled to face his direction, a small black gun braced in both of her hands.
Good. She wasn’t utterly defenseless. He approved.
“You shouldn’t sneak up on people on the side of the road,” she called out in lieu of a greeting. Nothing in her stance betrayed the chill overtaking her fragile form, but a blue tinge touched the edges of her lips, while her face was a shade too pale. She clenched her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering. “Who are you?”
If she were a Wolf, she would have snapped at him.